Church embarks on binding synodal process

Cardinal Reinhard Marx says the Catholic Church in Germany is embarking on a “binding synodal process” to tackle three key issues that arose from the clerical abuse crisis.

These include priestly celibacy, the Church’s teaching on sexual morality and a reduction of clerical power.

Marx, who is the president of the German bishops’ conference, says the bishops unanimously decided these three topics would be subject to a process of “synodal progression” that could lead to a binding, but as yet undetermined, outcome.

In his opinion the Church needs synodal advancement, which Pope Francis endorses.

The sexual abuse scandal and demands for reform have changed the German church, he says.

“We will create formats for open debates and bind ourselves to proceedings that facilitate a responsible participation of women and men from our dioceses.

“We know about the cases of clerical abuses of power. It betrays the trust of people searching for firm footing and religious orientation. What must be done to achieve the necessary reduction of power and to construct a fairer and legally bound order will be to clarify a synodal path.”

In this respect, the German church has undertaken a number of projects which are now nearing completion. These include:

  • Working out how to move forward following the sexual abuse scandal, taking into account advice and information from a range of experts.
  • Debates on celibacy, which require further study.
  • Developing Catholic sexual morality.



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